The Phoenix Suns rode into Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on a 13-game winning streak, so Cleveland knew they would have their hands full Wednesday night.
The Cavaliers battled the Western Conference champions to the end, but they would lose 120-115 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Cavaliers(9-10) have lost five straight, while the Suns(15-3) extend their win streak to 14 games.
Here is the Great, Not so Great, and Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to Phoenix.
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-Cedi Osman returned Wednesday after missing two games with a back spasms, and he was outstanding. Osman had 23 points off Cleveland’s bench, including a team-high five threes. It was a night of milestones for Osman as he got his 200th career steal and 1,000th career field goal.
=Jarrett Allen is having a great season, and maybe an All-Star caliber season. Allen had 18 of his team-high 25 points(9-10 FG) in the first half against the Suns and collected 11 rebounds. He went head-to-head with Deandre Ayton and was dominant. The 18 points in a half was a career-high for Allen.
-Darius Garland was in foul trouble for most of the night and fouled out in the fourth, but he had another solid night with 19 points and seven assists.
-Second Quarter: Cleveland trailed 36-33 after one but picked things up in the second quarter. They had another 33-point quarter led by Ricky Rubio’s 12 points. In addition, they picked it up on the defensive end as the Cavs held Phoenix to 38% from the field, including 1/6 from downtown. Cleveland would take a 66-61 lead into halftime. The 66 points were the most the Cavs scored in the first half this season.
Grit, Heart, Scrap: The Cavs showed all these things against the Suns. Their grit, heart, and scrap almost got them a victory, but the Suns are so good and know how to make all the right plays down the stretch. However, that does not take away from the effort the Cavs displayed.
Not So Great for the Cavaliers:
-Third Quarter: The third quarter was the worst shooting quarter for the Cavs Wednesday night. They shot 37% from the field, including 1/5 from downtown. Phoenix, who leads the league in team field goal percentage, shot 48 percent from the floor and ultimately took a one-point lead into the fourth. The Suns finished the game shooting 51% from the field.
-Fourth Quarter Defense: The Cavs were not bad in the fourth quarter, but they gave Phoenix too many good looks. Phoenix had their best shooting quarter of the game as they shot 11/18(61%) from the floor; only one of those 11 field goals was a three, so a lot of mid-range jumpers from the Suns, including down the stretch when Chris Paul hit a pull up jumper with just under two minutes left to give Phoenix the lead for good.
Second Half Ricky Rubio: Rubio scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half(4/11 FG). Second half, much different story as Rubio was 1/9 from the field and had three points. On two occasions, with the Suns leading by three late, Phoenix purposely fouled Rubio and would not let Cleveland get off a three-point shot. However, both times Rubio missed the first free throw, and ultimately, the Suns’ plan worked. Rubio finished the game shooting 5/20 from the field.
Again, again, again, there are no moral victories in the NBA. Absolutely none! However, the Cavs are building; they were without one of their best players in Evan Mobley, and the Suns have won 14 straight, so give Cleveland credit; they went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in basketball and did not blink. So, for me, the Cavs get a moral victory against the Suns. Sadly, it does not count in the standings.
“Obviously, was a tough ending for us but for the 48 minutes, we were right there,” Osman said. “We compete.”
Cleveland finishes off their four-game homestand Saturday night against the Orlando Magic. The Cavs our 0-3 on this homestand.
Best of the Rest:
-Phoenix had six players in double figures as Devin Booker had a game-high 35 points. Paul had 17 points and a game-high 11 assists. Deandre Ayton had 16 points and nine rebounds. JaVale McGee had a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds off the bench.
-Cleveland also had six players in double figures. Lauri Markkanen had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Love had 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Cleveland had 52 points off their bench.
-Phoenix’s 14-game win streak started on October 30th against guess who? The Cavaliers.
Watch below as Osman and Allen talk loss to Suns: